Saturday, 29 August 2015

LIVE: Dawes at Oslo Hackney (27/8/15)

Earlier this week I went to see Dawes playing at London's Oslo, a tiny venue in West London. Support came from soloist Leddra Chapman, who played a great opening set, but what I loved most was her excitement over seeing and supporting the band. 

Released this June, the band's latest record, All Your Favorite Bands, is one of my favourite records of all time with the title track and I Can't Think About It Now particular highlights. So when they opened their set with the latter I knew it was going to be a great gig and wasn't disappointed! The set spanned their back catalogue, with songs from all four albums including a favourite of mine from the third record, From A Window Seat (video.)

In the intimate setting with a great crowd, and considering that the band, based and from America, barely play shows here, it was a really special night, and was fantastic to see that the band were enjoying it as much as us. They're one of the best and most tight live bands I've seen and, after seeing the band back in December 2012, it was great to hear the new tracks that I've been enjoying so much live - including the below video, new track Right On Time. Overall the set was awash with frontman Taylor's contagious energy, and heartwarming sing-alongs and incredible guitar solos from Duane Betts, who is currently playing alongside the band.

LISTEN: The Hoosiers release 'Up To No Good' EP

Released yesterday, the new Up To No Good EP from The Hoosiers features this stunning acoustic session of track Dancer's In The Dark. The band are set to release their fourth studio album, The Secret Service, in October, with this EP and the previously released The Wheels Fell Off signalling a compromise between the band and fans regarding whether they should release a record or a series of EPs.

The new EP features two completely new tracks, both showcasing the typical catchy lyrics and charming riffs that the band are known for. The title track is a particular highlight for me, and one that I can see being a great live track when the band take the album on tour across the UK in October (see my post about the tour here.)

As with the first EP, this too features two live tracks from a show on the band's last tour, this time the fun and crowd pleasing Unlikely Hero and third-album track Somewhere In The Distance. All in all the EPs both give a sign of great things to come from the upcoming record, but for me the acoustic session tracks steal the show on both and make me desperate to see the band play an acoustic set in the near future!

You can get the EP from iTunes or listen on Spotify now, or if you pre-order the new record through the band's website you'll receive both EPs instantly.

TOUR NEWS: Mumford & Sons (Oct/Nov 2015)

With headline slots at Reading and Leeds Festivals this weekend, and a string of dates around the US and Europe over the past couple of months, Mumford & Sons have just announced a UK arena tour later this year. The tour kicks off in Nottingham on 28th November, with a couple of dates at London's O2 and finishing off in Glasgow on 13th November. Support (apart from 10th November) comes from Jack Garratt

Sign up to the band's mailing list here to get access to the ticket pre-sale on 2nd September. 

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

WATCH: Jack Savoretti 'Nobody Cept' You' for Ont' Sofa

Taken from his latest album, Written In Scars, is this Jack Savoretti cover of Bob Dylan track Nobody Cept' You. Being typically smitten by most string sections in songs, I love this performance of the track that Jack recorded for the Cosmopolitan Quartet Sessions and Ont' Sofa. With its beautiful lyrics and Jack's unmistakable vocals, the track could easily be one of his own, and he really  does it justice both on the album version and in this stunning session.

Jack Savoretti has a UK tour upcoming across October, with dates and tickets here - but move quick as a few of the dates are already sold out, with tickets remaining for his Roundhouse London headline show. With the reception of his latest record, and appearances at various festivals and on several TV shows across the past months, it's great to see Jack's career going from strength to strength, and I'd highly recommend taking the opportunity to see him in these smaller venues; I can't wait for his show at O2 Academy Oxford.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

WATCH: Public Service Broadcasting - 'The Other Side'

Premiering on Flood Magazine today, here is the latest video from London duo Public Service Broadcasting. Producing a unique blend of music and sampled archive audio from things such as the Apollo space missions, the band create a sound that almost shouldn't work, but does to a spectacular extent. This latest video for new single The Other Side, a track taken from their recent album The Race For Space, featuring footage of their performance at this year's Secret Garden Party

PSB tour the UK later this year, with their biggest headline show to date at O2 Academy Brixton, with tickets for the shows here.

WATCH: Spector - 'Cocktail Party'

Indie rockers Spector released their second studio album, Moth Boys, on Friday. It's the follow up to their brilliant 2012 release Enjoy It While It Lasts - which features tracks Celestine and Chevy Thunder. This is the latest track to be taken from the album, Cocktail Party, the video for which was recorded wholly on bassist Tom's iPhone. 

Spector tour across the UK to promote the record in October, with dates in Birmingham, Nottingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Leeds, Oxford and topped off with a show at London's Heaven, among other cities. Tickets for the run of shows are available on the band's website here.

Monday, 24 August 2015

LISTEN: Dawes - 'I Can't Think About It Now'

If you listen to any of my music recommendations, make it this one. The latest Dawes record All Your Favourite Bands is one of my favourite albums and in my opinion one of the best records I've ever listened to both musically and lyrically. This track from the record, I Can't Think About It Now, has an incredible instrumental section, and I find the progression of the track incredible. Really looking forward to seeing the band this Thursday at Oslo Hackney and hearing the new tracks live. 

Friday, 21 August 2015

TOUR NEWS: The Hoosiers (October 2015)

The Hoosiers today announced a UK tour across October, taking in some fairly unusual locations, as well as Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and an intimate slot at London's The Borderline. The tour is to promote the band's upcoming fourth studio album, The Secret Service. The album is out on the 9th October, with a second EP, entitled Up To No Good, being released a week today (pre-order it on iTunes here.) 

Tickets for the tour are on sale now from the band's website here.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

WATCH: Ady Suleiman 'So Lost' for Sofar Sounds

I saw this chap, Ady Suleiman, back in June opening my first Bushstock. My festival buddy couldn't big up his music enough and I wasn't disappointed at all with his set, and this is one of the tracks that stood out for me. I love this new Sofar Sounds session from his appearance at a recent Nottingham show, with his unique vocal style and backing guitar creating a simple but fantastic performance - perfect for the intimate and quiet environment of a Sofar show.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

LISTEN: Grace Lightman 'Black Is The Colour' ft. Parallax Orchestra

Following my post about the new Liu Bei track a couple of days ago is this new track from London artist Grace Lightman, a cover of Black Is The Colour featuring Parallax Orchestra (a project involving Will Harvey, previously violinist/keys player for Dry The River). Grace shares management with Liu Bei, as well as creating music with one of the bands members, San Felu (who is the new keys player for Dry The River... confused yet?)

With a successful debut track, Vapour Trails, and her first solo live dates upcoming over the next few weeks I was intrigued to listen to the track. While not perhaps the kind of music I'd typically listen to, I admire the mix of honesty and mystery that the track combines. The strings bring another dimension to the track whilst keeping it stripped back, with Grace's unique vocals taking the forefront, with the vocals and strings combining with piano to create a chilling but beautiful track.

Grace Lightman plays:

August 19th: The Green Door Store, Brighton
September 3rd: The Waiting Room, London
September 12th: Big Next Festival, Ghent, Belgium

Monday, 17 August 2015

TOUR NEWS: Foals (November 2015)

Indie rockers Foals today announced a UK club tour in November to support their upcoming record, What Went Down, which is released later this month. With the band going from strength to strength and following the success of their 2013 record, Holy Fire, these could be some of the last chances to see the band in such small venues - so snap up tickets when they go on pre-sale this Wednesday, and general sale on Friday (ticket link here.) I'll just be sat over here hoping they announce a hometown Oxford show to add to the tour.... 

Friday, 14 August 2015

LISTEN: Liu Bei - 'Mind Over Matter'

Though during last semester I had planned to see this band, Liu Bei, live (and remembered that the gig was happening, just after it had happened), I've actually never taken a proper listen to their music - so with this new track released today, now feels like a good time to do so! I'm loving the track, Mind Over Matter, which premiered on Killing Moon and is to be released on 25th September as a double A side single, and after a short tour of their Soundcloud, I'm liking what I hear.

Trying to find information about the band online when their bio simply tells me that they're a band from London isn't an easy task but I'm pretty sure they're predominantly a duo but the musical outfit features other artists for live shows, and has strong links to folk rockers Dry The River who they've played shows with in the past (and share a member!) 

Keep an eye out for the other half of the AA single, and if you're interested in seeing the band live they have upcoming shows at the beginning of October at London's Hoxton HQ and Oxford's The Bullingdon (ticket links under the tour section of their site.)

GIG NEWS: Frances (7th October 2015)

The wonderful Communion backed artist (are any of the artists that Communion work with anything but wonderful?!) Frances just announced a third date at Servant Jazz Quarters on 7th October after the first dates sold out - a great achievement for her first headline shows! I saw her play a set at the Communion New Faces Oxford show earlier this year and caught some of her set at Bushstock, from the back of a packed out St Stephen's Church. Both sets were mesmerising and I anticipated things would start to get pretty exciting for her - and with these upcoming sold out shows and the brilliant response to her recent Grow EP, I think I could've been right!

Featuring the beautiful title track Grow, which is getting TV play on a recent Amazon advert, Frances' first EP is out now on iTunes as well as on 7" vinyl here.

Monday, 10 August 2015

WATCH: Balloon Ascents 'Cutout' for Under The Apple Tree

Living in Oxford for university, I was gutted that I wouldn't be there over summer to go to Truck Festival, which always has a great line-up. Highlights this year included Public Service Broadcasting, Lucy Rose and Rae Morris, as well as local band Balloon Ascents who I saw play a couple of times over my first year at uni. For a bunch of young guys they've got their heads on their shoulders and are playing some really cool music and building up a local fanbase, as well as playing shows further afield - particularly at some Sofar Sounds concerts in other countries. Here is a session of the band performing their track Cut Out, which I posted the official video for back in May - the session was for Radio 2's Bob Harris and filmed at the festival. Having seen them play an acoustic in store at Truck Store I can recommend a listen to this session, as the band gel together wonderfully in this stripped back environment.

Friday, 7 August 2015

ALBUM NEWS: Half Moon Run - 'Sun Leads Me On'

Canadian indie rock band Half Moon Run recently announced a run of European and UK tour dates, and have just announced that their second studio album Sun Leads Me On, the follow up to their beautiful 2012 debut Dark Eyes is due to be released on October 23rd. 
Here's Trust, the first track to be taken from the record - a slight veer into electronic music but retaining the charm of the first record and the familiar and unique vocals of lead Devon Portielje, and a great sign of whats to come from the record, which you can pre-order on the band's site here. There's a live video of the track from a recent show here too. 

Thursday, 6 August 2015

WATCH: The Staves 'Blood I Bled' for The Mahogany Sessions

This band of 'acoustic folk-rock' performing sisters, The Staves, were one of my favourite discoveries of this year's Bushstock Festival, where they rounded off an afternoon of secret sets by Alex Vargas and Nick Mulvey in a Shepherd's Bush wine bar. I was really impressed by their beautiful harmonies and the quiet, honest nature of their music. Of their latest record, If I Was, which I soon got my hands on, this track is one of my favourites. The record was produced by Justin Vernon who made a guest appearance at the band's Glastonbury set (following guesting at Kanye's set the night before!), which I streamed at home and loved seeing that they could perform so well to a large crowd too after seeing them perform in such an intimate setting. With a support slot on the upcoming Florence & The Machine UK tour and countless festival appearances over summer the girls are certainly bringing folk to the masses!

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

WATCH: Everything Everything - 'Spring/Sun/Winter/Dread'

Following suit with their other fairly bizarre videos is the new Everything Everything video for their track Spring / Sun / Winter / Dread, a track taken from their recently released (and brilliant) third studio album, Get To Heaven. The track, with the band's typically unusual lyrical style went down really well when I saw the band back in April (video) and is one of my personal highlights of the record.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

LIVE: Fred Abbott at The Borderline and The Sea & I at 100 Club (31/7/15)

Fred Abbott at The Borderline.
On Friday I went to London again to see Noah & The Whale guitarist and keyboard player Fred Abbott play his album launch show at The Borderline. During the day I realised that one of my favourite new bands, The Sea & I, were playing a support set at another venue a short walk away. A couple of tweets later and Irwin had put me onto the list for the sold out show as I was sure I could fit both sets in.

Though a bit of a rush between the two venues I'm really glad I caught both sets and seeing The Sea & I last minute was a great surprise. They put in as great an effort in this support set as in their residency headline shows at The Islington that I attended in June. A talented bunch of individuals, they blend together to make a really big, beautiful and unique sound. At recent shows they've been playing some new tracks (those not on their two EPs, one self titled and The Great I Am), and I'm particularly enjoying this track, Harpies

After their set I dashed around the corner and got to The Borderline with time to spare before Fred's set. True to the album it was the launch show for, the set was pure rock and roll music at its best, rammed full of guitar solos. I was intrigued to see how Fred would take to the role of frontman, and he seemed incredibly comfortable in front of the packed out hometown crowd. Fred jokingly  said that he doesn't "condone the schoolboy humour" of his backing band's chosen name, The Windbreakers, but their performance was anything but a joke - each helping to bring the album tracks to life to a great (and loud!) degree. Considering it was their first show together under this moniker, and in the absence of Fred's Noah bandmates who played on the record, the band played a really fun set which left the crowd wanting more.

I recorded this video of one of my favourite tracks from the record, Awake, and also took some photos at the show, which I have uploaded to my Flickr here.

You can get Fred's record Serious Poke in most music shops and online now - read my review of the record here.

WATCH: We Were Evergreen 'Be Like You' for Sofar Sounds

Surprisingly it is over a year since French trio We Were Evergreen released their debut record, Towards with its singles False Start and Daughters. Loving this video released a couple of days ago of a Sofar Sounds session in London, with the band playing a track which they recently shared on social media, a reworking of the The Jungle Book track I Want To Be Like You, which works incredibly well. As Michael says in the video, and particularly compared with when I first started listening to the band back in 2011 or 2012, they have now departed from their stripped back, acoustic and folk-y sound, with the album having more of an electronic, indie pop style. As such, its nice to see a new stripped back video of the band, whose vocals and harmonies can stand by themselves and sound wonderful without the need for overpowering music.